5 Adult Qualities Every 20-Something Is Having A Tough Time With


Our 20s are a fun, exciting and scary time.

We are continually growing, trying our best to learn about the world around us and, more importantly, trying our best to learn about ourselves.

We have some things down, but here are the five most common qualities with which we all seem to struggle most.

1. Clarity

Having complete and total clarity in your 20s is almost like a punchline to a bad joke.

The notion of possessing a direct channel to our most absolute and essential thoughts is something most 20-year-olds would do anything to have. Is it possible? Yes, but it is an eternal battle to tap into.

Our 20s are arguably the most pivotal time in our lives. It’s a unique decade when the future, present and past all meet at a crossroads. We are challenged to decide what is best for our futures, though we often don’t have long-term answers.

Deciding what and whom to put behind us and which direction to take moving forward makes a simple concept, like clarity, become increasingly difficult.

The first step for acquiring clarity is understanding you do not need all the answers to obtain it. Having clarity doesn't mean you know exactly what to do.

Clarity is knowing that in every decision, a responsible and confident thought process took place before your step forward; it means you did everything you could possibly do.

When we reach such a space, no matter where our decisions lead us -- good or bad, forward or backward --, we will be able to say we got there with the best possible judgment.

We often look to others for answers that lay within. If we were to take the time to trust ourselves and our two decades worth of life, we would find that we probably know what to do. We are just sometimes afraid to hear the truth for ourselves.

Our 20s are riddled with whys — some which may be answered, others not —, but it is only through clarity we can be okay with whatever answer we receive.

2. Self-Confidence

This is the age when both parents and children collectively agree adolescence is a thing of the past, thus requiring evidence of the what's next: adulthood.

And, this quest of proving ourselves as adults goes far beyond our expectations or the expectations of our parents and peers. It tarries on, deep down, trickling into scary words, like “purpose” and “reason for being.”

It is in this time when our self-confidence goes from the invincible college veteran, to the insecure grad, questioning whether or not it's possible.

Lack of self-confidence is a fear that only grows the more we feed it.

The second we start doubting what we can do, we start doubting everything: whether we picked the right career, whether we are in the right state/job/program, whether or not our favorite color is even our favorite color.

It is easy to succumb to pressure.

Of course, we second-guess ourselves when we are constantly told every decision we make right now will be the foundation for our future. That’s why it’s important we combat every doubt with a positive.

Instead of looking at what you haven’t done, look at what you've accomplished and where you plan to go.

Replace fear with hope, and the self-confidence will start to shine through whatever it is you have always dreamed to do.

3. Focus

It’s safe to say the distractions you have in your 20s are incomparable to what you will have at any other time in life.

Whether it’s the party atmosphere of college or being a self-reliant adult, your 20s posses an allure of adventure and curiosity that can easily take your eyes away from any goal you may have originally had in mind.

Remaining focused is difficult due to the endless possibilities youthfulness affords.

We want to do everything from going to music festivals to backpacking through Europe. Anything that sounds work-related only holds relevance due to its monetary advantages.

If not careful, we can overlook the baby steps that are necessary to establish something worthwhile, like saving, finishing school on time and taking that internship.

Even when on track, losing focus is still hard for us. If we are not consistent with our gazes ahead, the hills and hurdles can quickly turn to roadblocks and dead ends.

We never want temporary discomfort to detour us from what can be long-term achievements.

Once we understand the importance of focus and the significance it has for our journeys ahead, we will be able to take appropriate precautions to alleviate distractions that keep us from reaching destinations.

4. Responsibility

What Richard Parker told Peter — "with great power comes great responsibility" — becomes more relatable every day.

Every 20-something has either mastered this quality or is currently on the road to mastering it.

Responsibility is one of those characteristics that comes with maturity, and is a trait we can either learn to master the easy way or the hard way.

When we go off to college and even when we graduate college, there is an understanding that we are expected to use the lessons we were taught from childhood, like integrity, study habits and money management, and then put them into practical use for our everyday lives.

As young adults, the lessons only get more complex as we age. We master getting up for the 8 am class, but how about working off-the-clock on a work assignment to ensure quality?

Paying monthly rent was a breeze, but how about researching the housing market for a potential neighborhood and using your resources to make sure you make the most efficient decision?

It’s hard choosing not to go out on Thirsty Thursdays, Freaky Fridays and, well, you get the picture, but sooner or later, we get in the habit of making adult decisions.

5. Strength

In my mind, the hardest of all qualities to master in your 20s is your strength -- strength to be alone, to continue after a closed door, to surmount the doubters, to carry your faith, to hope for what’s ahead and much, much more.

Our lives during our 20s are in a metamorphosis stage. It’s just now forming, and we are just now starting to build and establish what the rest of our lives will be like.

This why we need the strength to retain clarity, to remain confident in ourselves, and to always remained focused and responsible. We are flawed humans with selfish aspirations.

We will feel weak; we will make mistakes, and we will face difficulties. But, roadblocks are not meant to stop us; they are meant to help us and give us opportunities to grow by finding ways to get around them.

And, we will grow stronger every time we do.